ICT > Impact of ICT
Effect on user’s health
As employees spend more time at work using ICT, there is a greater likelihood that this will affect their health. Ergonomics is important in reducing injury to people using computers. This includes:
- The design and arrangement of the seating and the computer system, especially the keyboard and monitor.
- Arrangements to support someone using the computer; that is, foot and wrist supports.
- Rules governing the user’s behaviour when using the computer; for example, how often to take breaks.
The health risks associated with intense and prolonged computer use are:
- Repetitive strain injury (RSI) to the hands and arms. RSI is a painful condition that occurs because of damage to tendons, nerves, muscles and soft body tissue, and can be caused by the repetitive use of keyboard and a mouse. It can be avoided and its effect reduced by taking regular breaks using a specially adapted ergonomic keyboard and a wrist support.
- Eye problems such as soreness, lack of focus and eye dryness can arise from staring at a monitor all day. Potential problems can be avoided by taking regular breaks, having regular eye examinations by an optician and using antistatic and other screen filters. Monitors should be positioned to avoid light reflecting on the screen, and a interio lighting should be shaded and directed to avoid reflections. Using a larger screen can also help.
- Backache and similar problems. These can arise through sitting in an inappropriate posture for long periods of time. The solution is to use a purpose-designed operator’s chair with adjustable height and backrest, and a footrest, and to take regular breaks.
- Fatigue and headaches.
- Trip hazards. These are associated with trailing cables and should be reduced by putting cabling in trunking or where it is not likely to interfere with the user’s movement.
- Electric shock. This can be minimized by the use of a RCD on the main power supply to the computer. This is designed to turn off the power if the user receives an electric shock.